On Friday, a Supreme Court bench comprising Justices R Banumathi, Ashok Bhushan and AS Bopanna dismissed Nirbhaya case convict Vinay Sharma’s appeal against the President’s rejection of his mercy petition. Sharma’s counsel had put forth the contention that the President had ignored his adverse mental condition due to the torture in the jail. On the other hand, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta denied this claim and asserted that the rapist was fit and of sound mind.
The apex court agreed with the Centre that Sharma is medically fit and psychologically stable. Moreover, it rejected the argument that relevant materials were not forwarded by the Ministry of Home Affairs to the President. This verdict implies that Vinay Sharma has exhausted all possible legal remedies to stop his execution.
Till now, President Ram Nath Kovind has rejected the mercy petitions of three convicts- Vinay Sharma, Akshay and Mukesh. Pawan, the remaining convict is yet to file the mercy plea. However, on January 31, the Patiala House Court stayed the execution of all the rapists until further orders. The Ministry of Home Affairs moved the Delhi High Court against this order but failed to get any relief. Subsequently, it approached the Supreme Court.
A 23-year-old paramedic student Nirbhaya was gang-raped inside a running bus by six persons on December 16, 2012, in Delhi. The victim was severely assaulted and thrown out on the road along with her male friend and succumbed to injuries a few days later. Out of the six convicts, one reportedly committed suicide in prison, while another, a juvenile, served maximum punishment of three years in a reform home and was set free in 2015. The remaining four rapists were convicted and handed the death penalty by a trial court in 2013, confirmed by the Delhi High Court in March 2014. The Supreme Court upheld the Delhi High Court's verdict in 2017.